Eliud Kipchoge Adds A 2:02 To His Collection At London

The greatest men’s marathoner of all-time continued his reign at the London Marathon on Sunday. Eliud Kipchoge used an emphatic last two miles to shake off the rest of the field and win in 2:02:37. The time is the second fastest in history, bettered only by his 2:01:39 world record from last fall’s Berlin Marathon. The victory is Kipchoge’s 10th in a row and runs his career total to 11 victories in his 12 attempts at the marathon.

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Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia finished second in 2:02:55 and became the third man in history to break 2:03:00, while his countryman Mule Wasihun ran 2:03:00 for third. Great Britain’s Mo Farah was fifth in 2:05:39. 

The start of the race was conservative, particularly by the standard’s of the London Marathon with 5K splits of 14:23 and 29:01 for the first 10 kilometers. The halfway split of 1:01:37 hinted at a quick last half with a group of nine runners hanging with the pacemakers. 

Things thinned out from there and by the time the last rabbit left the race at 15 miles, Kipchoge found himself at the front. He was followed by Geremew, Wasihun and a third Ethiopian, Shura Kitata.  At 30K, that group of four (content to let the world record holder lead despite frequent Kipchoge gestures for someone in the pack to share the lead) was 24 seconds ahead of Farah.

Kipchoge continued to drive at the front, his trademark serene expression on his face as he ratcheted up the pace. The three Ethiopian’s were resilient, but Kipchoge was unrelenting. 

First, Kitata fell off. Then, Wasihun and Geremew. Kipchoge dispatched them one-by-one, a 25th mile of 4:26 too tall an order for everyone in the field except Kipchoge. 

He celebrated down the final stretch, showing no signs that the damage he’d inflicted on others impacted him in the slightest. The win was Kipchoge’s fourth in London—also a record. 

Brigid Kosgei rode an incredible second half of 1:06:42 to win the women’s race in 2:18:20. Like the men’s race, the women were cautious in the early miles—content to pass halfway in 71 minutes and let Australia’s Sinead Diver have a 15-second lead. But the restraint didn’t last long. A group of seven women took control of the race by the 25K mark, including last year’s runner-up Kosgei, defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot and Mary Keitany. 

Kosgei and Cheruiyot soon created separation with the two having their own game of cat and mouse. Cheruiyot was able to erase a sizable Kosgei lead once and draw even with 10K remaining. But by 35K, Kosgei was loose again. And this time, Cheruiyot wasn’t able to respond. 

By the finish, Kosgei’s margin was almost two minutes over Cheruiyot (2:20:14). The victory is Kosgei’s second World Marathon Major in a row after her win in Chicago last fall. The time, a lifetime best for Kosgei, is the ninth-fastest women’s time in history. Roze Dereje, Gladys Cherono and Mary Keitany ran 2:20:51, 2:20:52 and 2:20:58 to round out the top five. 

American Emily Sisson had a strong debut at the distance in sixth place. Sisson passed midway in 1:11:49 en route to a finishing time of 2:23:08. Her performance marked the second-fastest American debut ever, just eight seconds slower than Jordan Hasay's 2:23:00 from 2017 in Boston. Molly Huddle ran with Sisson throughout the halfway split, but slowed in the latter stages to finish 12th. Still, Huddle’s time of 2:26:33 is a personal best. 

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